To make people smile again …

Today, we had three activities at Minamisanriku which is a town affected badly by the Tsunami six years ago. First of all, we talked to Mr. Muraoka, the local fisherman, and had barbecue lunch with him. He talked about the effects of the disaster on his fishery and its process of recovery. We learned how powerful the nature is from his real story. However, they, the fishermen and people living in this town, respect the nature and try to co-exist with it even though the earthquakes and Tsunami destroyed their daily lives.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, my teacher told me about the power of disaster, especially earthquake and tsunami, and the ways to protect our lives from the disasters at school, but I didn’t know the value of nature at all. I felt sorry about it and this weird thing, as a person who lives in a city, that people has never experienced the tsunami keep telling fear of tsunami and importance of preparation for earthquake, without telling the value of nature. One more thing that I was impressed from his story was they not only respect nature, but they trust it. He said that he is never worried about passing his job on to next generation even though the population of fishery in this town is decreasing, because he believes that the nature has enough power to attract the youth. I’d like to work on spreading this idea of having appreciation to nature after I go back to my town.

Next, we visited Women’s Eye which is a group trying to support women by providing jobs. We saw the process of making silk from cocoons. After the earthquake, there are many women who are good with their hands and good at careful consideration to everyone, but they had no jobs to show their skills. From this activity and other activities I had done, I noticed that the age and gender don’t matter for contributing to community. Only the passion is required.

Hand made cocoon octopuses

Lastly, we went to “YES factory”. YES factory has a lot of projects to make Minamisanriku energized again. One of the projects was to promote the town through the products of mascot character, “okutopasu-kun”. An owner of this company has been trying hard to make the products humorous such as “Okuto-pantsu,” which is combination of octopus and pants (shorts in English). He is also one of the survivors from the disaster and he said that we’d never be able to come over lots of hardships without these humors. These products made people smile again and gave them courage to live even after the disaster.

Today, we saw many works going on in Minamisanriku and all of them were to help revive the town and bring smiles again.

Yuuki Takashima
Keio Shonan Fujisawa SHS

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